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Government criticised for stopping environment report

Published: 11:03AM Monday October 29, 2012 Source: ONE News

  • Environment minister, Amy Adams. (Source: Close Up)
    Environment minister, Amy Adams. - Source: Close Up

The Government has decided to stop producing its five-yearly State of the Environment Report.

The report, which is put together by the Ministry of the Environment, is the largest stock-take of trends relating to land, water, air, plants and animals.

Environment Minister Amy Adams said in an email that the Ministry is continually tracing environmental performance through the National Environmental Reporting Programme, which began in 2008.

This programme provides report cards on 22 core environmental indicators, which are the same indicators as those used in the State of the Environment 2007 report, she said.

"The report cards ensure that key indicators are reported using quality data in a timely, efficient manner and at a frequency relevant for the indicator, rather than arbitrarily every five years," Adams said.

The next report was expected to be released in December.

Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage said "the Government is keeping New Zealanders in the dark about what is happening to the environment and what the problems are by stopping publication of this report".

Sage said the report cards lack the breadth of a national report.

"The new report cards don't cover all of New Zealand. There is no freshwater data from regions such as West Coast, Tasman, Auckland in the recent MFE report cards on recreational water quality," said Sage.

"People who want to know what is going on will have to trawl through individual report cards and hope to find the most up-to-date accurate information instead of being able to access a single comprehensive document."

Labour's environment spokesperson Grant Robertson says it is a "major step backwards for the health of New Zealand's environment".

"In order to protect and preserve our environment we need good quality information. The Government should be providing that through regular and comprehensive reporting. Instead it is taking its 'ostrich economics' approach and extending it to the environment.

"New Zealand can't afford this head in the sand attitude from National. Ad hoc and incomplete report cards will not suffice."

He said he has a bill in the Members Ballot which would see the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment producing five yearly reports on the state of the environment.